Few verses have brought on extra controversy than Matthew 16:18, the place Jesus says, And I inform you, you might be Peter, and on this rock I’ll construct my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail in opposition to it. It has led to disagreement over the right kind of church authorities, the function of the pope (together with papal infallibility), apostolic succession, and extra.
In context, Jesus probes his disciples for what most people thinks in regards to the id of the Son of Man (v. 13). Their response signifies the breadth of the favored understanding of Jesus: he’s John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one other prophet (v. 14). So Jesus redirects his probe: However who do you [plural = the disciples] say I’m? (v. 15). Peter responds for the Twelve: Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, God the Son incarnate (v. 16). Jesus approves Peter for rightly figuring out him, underscoring that his disciple didn’t humanly determine this reality. Relatively, it got here as divine revelationfrom Jesuss heavenly Father (v. 17). Utilizing a play on phrases, Jesus renames his disciple Peter (Greekpetros) and guarantees to discovered Messiahs church on this rock (Greekpetra).
So what does “this rock” consult with? Let’s take a look at a couple of fallacious solutions earlier than turning to what I feel is the fitting one.
Rock as Peter and His Roman Successors
The Roman Catholic Church interprets this rock in reference to Peter as the primary pope and the start of apostolic succession: Jesus authoritatively instituted an unbroken line of successors from Peter and the opposite apostles to the present bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. On this view, Pope Francis is now the vicar (or earthly consultant) of Christ who, along with the opposite bishops, workouts Christs authority in educating, ruling, and sanctifying the Church.
Utilizing a play on phrases, Jesus renames his disciple Peter (Greekpetros) and guarantees to discovered Messiahs church on this rock (Greekpetra).
This interpretation arose centuries after the occasion and the writing of Matthews Gospel. From a Roman Catholic view, this passage is sort of a seed that solely later flowered into the Churchs interpretation. So for Roman Catholics, the dearth of point out of successors to Peter, bishops, and a hierarchical ecclesial structurealong with Jesuss later giving of the keys to not Peter however to the church (Matt. 18:1520)is not any deterrent to this understanding.
Moreover, the Magisteriumor educating workplace of the Catholic Churchclaims to own Christs authority to offer the official interpretation of Scripture. And since theyve formally interpreted Matthew 16:18 this fashion, this understanding stands because the authoritative and true one.
Traditionally, Protestants have rejected this interpretation of Jesuss phrases. So how do Protestants interpret it?
Rock as Jesus or Peters Confession
One frequent Protestant interpretation says that whereas Peter ispetros,a small stone, Jesus is petra, the rock. Thus, Jesuss affirmation isnt a few particular function for Peter, however about Jesus himself because the cornerstone of the church (Eph. 2:20; 1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Pet. 2:58). However this view appears to be extra about steering away from the Roman Catholic interpretation than a believable exegesis of the textual content itself.
A second widespread Protestant interpretation says that the rock isnt Jesus, however Peters confession about Jesus’s id. However this reality is then shorn of any reference to the particular person of Peter: it’s the confession itself, not Peter as confessor, that’s emphasised as the muse of Messiahs church.
On this context Jesus affirms that he’s the builder of his church, not its basis.
There are two main issues with these interpretations. First, on this context Jesus affirms that he’s the builder of his church, not its basis. Certainly, he guarantees that he’ll construct his church on the muse of this rock. Second, these interpretations are inclined to drive a wedge between the particular person of Peter and his divinely revealed confession.
Rock as Peter By Advantage of His Confession
A greater interpretation holds these two distinguished textual parts collectively: The rock is Peter by advantage of his confession.
The primary assist for this view will be seen within the distinguished salvation-historical function that Peter performs within the New Testomony (particularly the Gospels and the primary half of Acts). His prominence is seen in numerous methods. Hes the primary to announce the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:1441). Along with John, he confirms the inclusion of the Samaritans within the church (Acts 8:1425). Lastly, he’s instrumental within the conversion of the primary Gentiles (Acts 1011).
This vivid narration within the ebook of Acts reveals how the keys of the dominion had been used to construct the church. And although all of the apostles had been energetic (cf. Matt. 18:18), Peter’s prominence at numerous key factors is unmistakable.
Matthews Gospel actually situates Peter among the many Twelve. . . . However a correct interpretation of Jesuss affirmation ought to respect the privilege loved by Peter among the many disciples.
Matthews Gospel actually situates Peter among the many Twelve (like them, he grasps one thing of the import of Jesus and his ministry whereas additionally misunderstanding an amazing deal). However a correct interpretation of Jesuss affirmation ought to respect the privilege loved by Peter among the many disciples. He is usually a spokesman for and a frontrunner among the many Twelve. And so he’s, as Jesus singles him out for commendation (and renames him!) due to his confession.
Constructing the Church
Accordingly, this rock is certainly Christ’s renamed disciple Peter (Gk. petros). But its Peter by advantage of his confession that results in Christ’s promise to construct his church on this rock (Gk. petra). And this constructing undertaking makes use of the keys of the dominion of heaven because the gospel is introduced all through the world.
The phrase doesnt assist the Roman Catholic interpretation that Peter is the primary pope, the vicar of Christ, the infallible head of the Church that rests on apostolic succession and wields divinely conferred authority by advantage of its possessing the keys of the dominion. Relatively, this rock is the muse of the church that Jesus has been constructing and continues to construct.
As articulated by Peter, the confession of the id of the Messiah, God the Son incarnate, is a component and parcel of each the gospel message itself and likewise the right appropriation of the gospel: to all who, by way of the Holy Spirit, confess Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3), the Son offers everlasting salvation for the glory of God.